Tuesday, April 11, 2000,
Chandigarh, India
C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S


Punjab, Haryana wait for Lok Pals
By P P S Gill
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 10 — The two states, Punjab and Haryana, have been without their respective Lok Pal and lokayaukta for quite some time now.

Where is the Lok Pal? people often ask who wish to lodge complaints against the corrupt since the Chief Ministers Mr Parkash Singh Badal and Mr Om Parkash Chautala of the two neighbouring states espouse the cause of eradicating corruption in public life and promising a transparent government.

While the appointment of Punjab Lok Pal, Justice H.S.Rai, was quashed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in November last year and all proceedings held by him for or against anyone were held illegal and hence quashed; in Haryana the present government had abolished the Act itself and removed the Lokayaukta, Justice I.P.Vasishth, in the last quarter of 1999.

The Haryana Assembly has passed a new Bill for reviving the institution of Lokayaukta. The assent of the President is awaited.

In so far as Punjab is concerned, there are five special leave petitions before the Supreme Court, including the one filed personally by the Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal.The notices are being issued in these cases,

Meanwhile, it is reliably learnt, the Punjab government has again sent the name of Justice H.S.Rai to the Chief Justice for re-appointment as the Lok Pal. This was done about two-and-a-half months ago.Incidentally, Mr Rai is a close relation of Mr Parkash Singh Badal.The judgement makes a clear reference to the relationship.

In fact the Division Bench of the Court, comprising, Justice G.S.Singhvi and Justice Mehtab Singh Gill , which heard the petition against the Punjab Lok Pal and delivered the judgement on November 4, 1999, made certain specific observations in respect of appointment of Justice Rai and had described the same as "stage managed" and remarked that there had been no "consultations" worth the name between the Chief Minister, and the Chief Justice and the Speaker.

The Judges had also said that Justice Shri K. Sreedharan was the Chief Justice of the High Court at the relevant time and no material was produced before the Court to show that the respondent no. 2 (The Chief Minister),had, in fact, met Justice Sreedharan and had placed the various proposals referred to in the office note of August 29, 1997 before him.

The institution of Lok Pal in Punjab has had a chequered graph since the appointment of Justice S.S.Sodhi, who became the first Lok Pal. Thereafter the Act was amended during the short tenure of Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal wherein the Lok Pal was sought to be made a three-member institution. Before this could be effected she had to go following fresh elections to the State Assembly in 1997. Thereafter the present government again switched back to one-man Lok Pal.

The Lok Pal submitted his first consolidated administrative report to the "competent" authority - the Governor - in December 1998. All told around 20 complaints had been received by the two Lok Pals.

Thus at present the office of the Lok Pal exists in Punjab, while it is still to be re-established in Haryana.

To recap, the Lok Pal proceedings are pending against the following Congress men: Mr Lal Singh, Mr Balmukand Sharma, Mr Shamsher Singh Dullo,Mr Lakhmir Singh Randhawa were subsequently found to be "untenable" by the Governor. Though these were placed on the table of the Vidhan Sabha in September 1999 no action was initiated. In fact in November 1999 the high court quashed the appointment of Lok Pal and held as "illegal" the four reports and quashed the same .

However, it made clear that the order shall not confer immunity upon the petitioners from being proceeded against in future in accordance with the provisions of the 1996 Act and the complaints made against them shall not be treated as time barred. Back


Nabbed burglar had served life term for DIG’s murder
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 10 — In a major breakthrough, the police has arrested a notorious burglar, and recovered items worth Rs 5 lakh from his possession. As many as 18 cases of burglary have been worked out with his arrest.

The 45-year-old Leela Ram, was sentenced to life imprisonment for the sensational murder of Haryana Prisons DIG I. S. Kadian in 1974.

Leela Ram, then only 15 years old, shot the officer, dismembered the body and disposed of the parts in in various places. He was nabbed from Sanghoi, his native place near Solan, tried and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Today he was arrested by the police today with the cooperation of the public as he was fleeing from a Sector 20 house which he had unsuccessfully tried to burgle.

The accused, interrogated by DSP Vijay Pal Singh and SHO A.S. Jaggi of the Sector 19 police station, revealed that after being released from Burail jail in 1982, he worked as a carpenter but found it hard to make both ends meet. He is married and has two children.

In the meantime, he took to petty burglaries. He targeted only government houses and gained entry by posing as a Maintenance Department employee. He carried his tools and moved about on a bicycle.

Interestingly, he used to strike before the 10th of the month and laid low after he had managed to steal Rs 5, 000 or more in cash. Since 1996 he had been hoarding the booty, officials pointed out.

Police recovered 762 gm of gold, 1 kg of silver and Vikas Patras worth Rs 6,000. The gold was in the form of ornaments.

'Mainoo ki faida'

Officers who effected the recovery from Leela Ram's house in Mani Majra said the wife of the accused was taken aback at the amount of gold and silver that was recovered. It was beyond her wildest dreams and she is reported to have quipped: "He could have at least allowed me to wear it for one day".



CHB allows business in flats
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 10 — The Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) has permitted certain commercial and minor need-based activities for allottees of its dwelling units. A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting of the Board of Directors of the CHB here today.

In a press note issued today, the Board said professionals or consultants, including doctors, advocates, architects and property dealers, would be permitted to use a part of the area of their residence to a maximum of 50 sq m or 25 per cent of the covered area of the residence, whichever was less, for offering professional consultancy only. The provisions of the Chandigarh Advertisement Control Order 1954, as amended from time to time, would be strictly observed. The board did not agree to setting up of clinical laboratories in dwelling units.

It was also decided that allottees or occupants could use a part of the area of their residence upto 20 per cent of the covered area of the dwelling unit, subject to a maximum of 15 sq m, for the installation of STD, PCO, fax or photostat machine.

The allottees intending to install PCO, STD, fax or photostat machine would have to inform the Secretary, Chandigarh

Housing Board, about the same in writing.Only a part of the sanctioned building could be used for this purpose and no external structure would be installed. Only signboards approved by the CHB as per the standard design would be permitted. No external changes in the building would be allowed.

The board would not charge any composition fee for allowing the above facilities. It was also decided that as and when the Administration notified more relaxations in use of residential premises, the CHB would decide to adopt these.

In case of need-based changes which might involve changes in the building plan, it was decided that a committee headed by the Chief Executive Officer of the board would study relaxations permitted by the Administration for marla houses to assess their suitability for CHB dwelling units. The committee would invite suggestions from the public as to which need-based changes be allowed without creating structural instability, encroachments and inconvenience to neighbours.

It was also decided that no changes would be permitted in any way which might endanger the structure. Strong action, including demolition, cancellation and eviction, would be taken against violators. The board formally agreed to take up the construction of the 11-storeyed commercial complex in Sector 17, the press note said.Back


Cops are for caring!
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 10 — A cop who will provide first aid instead of a lathi blow! Incredible, but true ... at least in the City Beautiful.

Gone are the days when the most a cop could do for a helpless accident victim was keep curious onlookers at bay. From now on the policeman will not only be confident in crime cases and crowd-control, he will be able to provide first aid and remove injured persons to a hospital if necessary.

The first batch of 40 Police Control Room personnel underwent a three-hour crash course in first aid today. SSP (Hq) Ajay Kashyap inaugurated the classes at the Sector 23 Children's Traffic Park here today. The course, prepared by the local chapter of the St John's Ambulance Society, was conducted by S. K Nazeer.

Commenting on the course, Kashyap said it is necessary for police to be trained in first aid since the PCR vehicles are usually the first to reach the scene of a crime or accident.

"In the past, due to lack of training, policemen could do nothing other than shift the injured person to a hospital," he said, adding "In some cases, more harm was done by lifting people incorrectly.

Recognising this, the Police Department decided to approach the St John's Ambulance Society and seek their expertise. While some courses were very exhaustive, they were asked to draw up a shorter course which could be conducted in a day."

After the course, the cops will be able to not only give first aid on the spot but will know what to do in case of excessive bleeding, fractures or other injuries.

The UT Administrator had raised the issue of first aid training for policemen some time back.

Kashyap added that the first batch consisted of officers who were off duty today. "The classes will continue until all personnel are trained.

For the time being, we were concentrating getting one person on duty on each shift on the 25 PCR vans trained in first aid," he saidBack


Jain asked to appear for questioning
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 10 -- The Home Secretary of Chandigarh, at whose residence the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) conducted a thorough search today, has been asked to appear before the investigators on April 13 for further questioning in the case.

It may be mentioned here that the Punjab and Haryana High Court granted him anticipatory bail in a corruption case registered against him and Office Superintendent KB Goel by the CBI on the night of April 6.

The CBI team conducted the search at his official residence in Sector 7 for more than eight hours . The investigators took away with them certain items, including a computer, which had a super XXX film loaded on the hard drive. The computer was found in a first floor room and probably was used by his son who is studying in a nearby town.

During the search operations, a lawyer and a relative of the Home Secretary were present at his house while the investigators prepared a complete inventory of items, including sarees, jewellery and cash found at home. Other members of his family were away.

The investigators also visited his office in Sector 9 Deluxe Building and scrutinised some of the files. Though the investigators wanted him to come for further questioning tomorrow, Mr Jain is reported to have told them that he had to go back to New Delhi tomorrow and he would return on April 12 evening. He has been asked to appear before the investigators on April 13 afternoon.Back


PGI to buy 2-crore gama camera
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 10 — The Special Purchase Committee, PGI, which met today under the chairmanship of the Director, Dr S.K. Sharma, today approved the purchase of a hi-tech gama camera worth Rs 2.2 crore for the Department of Nuclear Medicine.

Sources reveal that the committee also gave a nod to the purchase of several other sophisticated and diagnostic equipment for various other departments. This includes an operation microscope for the Department of Plastic Surgery, various advanced endoscopes for the Department of Gastroenterology, better equipment for the Department of Orthopaedics to treat various bone diseases and diagnostic microscope for the Department of Virology.

Sanction was also given for purchasing expensive spare parts of equipment in cardiac cath laboratory, and CT scans so as to keep these machines in running order. Some new equipment for the Department of Radiotherapy and Eye Department, in addition to the new OPD block requirements have also been approved.

It also approved the purchase of chemical solutions for diagnostic equipment, 2 PCR machines to improve the diagnosis of blood being carried out in the Departments of Haematology, Paracytology etc. Besides this, various other hospital items such as life saving drugs and drops, particularly anti-snake venom were approved. Ration requirements of the Dietetics Department worth Rs 97 lakh were also sanctioned.

The meeting was attended by the Director-Principal, GMCH-32, Prof V.K. Kak; Dr Bimla Isaac from Chennai, UT Chief Engineer R.K Jain, Acting Medical Superintendent D. Behera; Financial Advisor Bakshi Ram and a representative of the Ministry of Health.Back


City powerless for hours
Underground cables’ ‘burst joints’ compel department to put up overhead cable between Sectors 39, 52
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 10 — Many parts of the city remained without power for most of the day today as the Electricity Wing of the Engineering Department undertook a major task of providing overhead transmission line between Sectors 39 and 52.

The task, according to Mr Y.R. Sachdeva, Superintending Engineer of the Electricity Circle, had to be undertaken as the earlier underground cable connecting the sectors was prone to defects.

The company which had laid the cable had cautioned the Administration against the possibility of "bursting of its joints". The "joints" needed for repairing such damaged portions had to be imported or brought from outside the city which could take several days.

Because of the impending summer season in which the power consumption goes up, the Electricity Circle decided to replace the existing underground power supply system with an overhead transmission system.

"We effected a major shutdown which led to the disruption of power supply in some parts of the city, including Sectors 17, 18, 39 to 52 and some other areas," Mr Sachdeva said. The work had to be expedited because of the impending holidays on account of Baisakhi, he added.

He said the full power supply was restored by 4 pm in all the affected areas. "With the overhead transmission system installed, the chances of any major power breakdown in Phase II and Phase III sectors have been minimised," he added.Back


Amar Khalsa preview on Tuesday
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 10 — The Punjab government has done little to fulfill its promise to make serials and films on Sikhs during the year-long Khalsa tercentenary celebrations, although lakhs have been spent on holding parleys with film directors and eminent personalities, alleged Hardeep Singh, member of the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) from SAS Nagar, here today.

He was interacting with mediapersons at a function held to announce the completion of Amar Khalsa, a cinematic interpretation of Bhai Veer Singh's famous nove, Bijay Singh. Hardeep Singh has produced the film which will be previewed at Tagore Theatre on April 11.

The two-hour film brings to life the atrocities against Sikhs during the regime of Mir Mannu. The Sikhs remember Mannu's genocidal oppression to this day The tyrant declared the entire community to be enemies of the state and rewarded anyone who brought him the head of a Sikh. He ordered the slaughter of children and put women to slave-labour compelling them to grind 40-kg of grain a day on starvation rations.

Flaying the government, Hardeep Singh said not a single serial or film has been commissioned to date. "The proposal to approach producers and directors like Gulzar, Thakur Ranveer and B. R. Chopra, remains on paper only," he said.

Referring to the lack of government support for his venture, he said even the SGPC did not give a single cent towards its completion. "I tapped my friends and some philanthropists for the money," he explained. The film shot on locations in Patiala, Sirhind, Bassi Pathana, Amritsar, Anandpur Sahib and Chandigarh, has been completed at a cost of Rs 30 lakh, he disclosed.

Amarjeet Singh, convenor of Sunheri Virsa, a dramatic society, said the film will be screened in India and abroad with the help of Sikh societies, institutions and Sikh sangat. He also said their group has staged more than 100 shows depicting Sikh history and culture, and disclosed that he would be leading troupes abroad and propagate the rich history of the community. Back


Divine celebrations at ashrama
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 10 — The annual celebration of the birth anniversaries of Ramakrishna Paramahansa, Mata Sharada Devi and Swami Vivekananda drew to its conclusion at Mission Ashrama here this evening. It was an occasion marked by learned discourses and soul-stirring devotional music.

Sunday was dedicated to Swami Vivekananda. In his inaugural address, Mr Kamaleshwar Sinha (Visva-Bharati) narrated in detail, with sparks of the swami’s own words, the philosophical lifestory of the ageless lighthouse from the Calcutta days through Chicago to Belur and eternity.

Swami Jitatmananda and Swami Pitambarananda spoke on the spirituality of Vivekananda’s teachings. Swami Yogatmananda presided over the largely attended meeting of swamis, brahmacharis and intellectuals.

An appeal was made for urgent and generous help for the construction of a meditation hall and the expansion of the present library.Back


Student held guilty of obscenity
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 10 — A Class XII student of Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 27-C, was held guilty of passing obscene remarks against a married woman. Following the trial, the accused Devinder Singh was convicted by the court of the UT Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate, Mr H.S. Madaan, who, however, released the accused on probation, keeping in view that he was a first-time offender.

Devinder Singh, who was booked in November 1998 for having tried to outrage the modesty of one Nisha Jain, was ordered to be released after he furnished a probationary bond of Rs 10,000 with a surety in the like amount.

The complaint in this regard had been made by Manoj Jain, husband of the victim. Manoj, in his complaint, stated that on November 18, 1998, when he, along with his wife, had been going towards Sati temple, two boys had come from behind on a moped and had made obscene gestures on seeing his wife. He added that they had used obscene language against his wife and had even slapped her on the back.

While one of the accused escaped, the other, Devinder Singh, was arrested. Back


4 hurt in mishaps
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 10 — Three city residents and a child were hurt in separate incidents.

Sector 35 resident Gulshan Vohra, his wife and son, were hit and injured by a truck (CHIOB 5768) near the Sector 29/30 round-about. They were on a scooter. They were admitted to the Sector 32 hospital. The driver of the truck fled.

In another incident, Ashwani Kumar was hit and injured by a car, (CH03-2334) near the Sector 34 police station, the driver of which fled from the scene of the crime.

The police has registered cases and investigations are under way.

Held with liquor: The police has arrested Roshan Lal, a resident of Sector 38, on charges of possessing 25 quarters and Pappu from Sector 40 with 12 bottles of liquor.

Cases under Sections 61 and 14 of the Excise Act has been registered.Back


Thief replaces lock after robbery
From Our Correspondent

ZIRAKPUR, April 10 — Electricity meters and PVC cable worth Rs 16,000 were stolen from a Punjab State Electricity Board store here last night.

According to sources, the sub divisional officer, lodged a complaint in the Lohgarh police post stating that some unidentified persons took 14 spools of cable measuring 1,400 meters along with 13 electricity meters from the store.

Interestingly, the thief broke the lock of the door but replaced it with a new lock after stealing the articles. No case has been registered in this regard so far.Back


Caveat: even bank-wads can be wrongly counted
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 10 — Can you bank on a bank for an accurately counted wad of notes? Most of the time the answer is yes, but even banks can make mistakes as local businessman Jasdeep Singh discovered last week.

His trouble started when his firm, Electronic Business Machines received payment by cheque(No. 874648 drawn on the Sector 30 State Bank of India) for the computer system it installed in the TBRL School at Ramgarh. He deposited the cheque on April 3 in the firm's account in the Sector 17-B Punjab and Sind Bank . "On April 5 when I went to withdraw cash the bank refused the payment on the grounds that no funds had been transferred to your Current Account No. 2752. I was shocked."

He rushed to SBI and learned to his further dismay that the cheque had been cleared. The entire day went in tracing where his money had gone and finally the trail led to Current Account No. 2572, belonging to the Punjab Financial Corporation. The PSB authorities passed a contra entry and transferred the funds to his account but "not without some very black looks in my direction" Singh says. "Anyway finally I drew a self cheque for Rs 45, 000 and took the cash in bundles of rupees-100 and rupees-50 notes -- that was three wads of 100-rupee notes and three wads of 50-rupee notes."

But Singh's troubles weren't over yet. By the time he got his money he was so tired of the bank business that he didn't count the notes. He gave the notes to his business partner Jasjot Singh who went to make a payment. The recipient took the bundles, promptly counted the notes and discovered that a bundle supposed to contain 100 100-rupee notes had only 85 notes in it.

"I was embarrassed -- it reflected so poorly on my credit worthiness," recalls Jasjot Singh, "how could this have happened!" By this time the bank was closed.

On the next day when the partners got back to the bank, the manager accepted that there had been a slip-up, that they had a surplus of Rs 1,500 which has been transferred to the sundry account.

"We have honestly accepted that the wad was short of notes and agree to pay him. This is a rare case," the bank manager maintained.

Moral of the story: always, always count your notes.Back


Opinion divided over bandh
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 10 — Opinions are divided, and so is the opinion over the call for a bandh in Sector 17 here tomorrow over the proposed amendments to the building byelaws governing commercial buildings.

The Chandigarh Traders Association has given a call for the bandh tomorrow maintaining that the “amendments as notified on March 31 are just an eyewash and a waste of exercise” as these do not meet their requirements.

Others, including traders, have decided to boycott the bandh call and open their establishments tomorrow, claiming that amendments were “welcome” and a new beginning has been made as remaining amendments, too, would follow.

The Sector 17 Traders Association has also given a call for protest rally at 9 a.m. after which traders would march out in a procession towards the Sector 17 Plaza from Sahib Singh & Sons. The bandh call has also been given against “negative attitude” of the Administration.

On the other hand, some of the traders of Sector 17-E have in a joint statement declared that they would keep their establishments open. They are Mr Subash Gulati, Mr Baldev Gulati, Mr Prakash Mahajan, Mr Ramesh Kapoor and Mr Tejbans Singh Jauhar.

The Chandigarh Beopar Mandal has supported the bandh call. Mr Inder Lal Batra, President of the mandal, has appealed to the Administrator, to accept the demands of the traders. He said that the Administration should not bring out any new amendments which might uproot genuine commercial tenants, and urged the Administration to withhold all resumption proceedings till the building byelaws are finally amended.

He cautioned the Administration that in case genuine demands of traders were ignored, the entire trading community of the city would be forced to resort to an agitation.Back


PF Dept awards Securities Ltd
Tribune News Service

CHANDIGARH, April 10 — The Regional Provident Fund Commissioner (I), Mr M.L.Meena, in a press note issued today said that around 70,000 account slips had been issued to 102 establishments in offices of Punjab region for the year 1999-2000 on March 31 and April 1.

Under its scheme to award the employers who were first in submitting their annual returns, M/s Securities Limited, Mohali, had been awarded by the department.Back

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